Today California held what was called the Great California Shakeout, an annual earthquake preparedness drill where everyone ducks and covers at the appointed time. At 10:20 a.m. PDT sirens rang out and everyone hit the desks. For those who didn’t, Mother Nature provided a different incentive: a real earthquake. Berkeley, near the gar spot headquarters, had a 4.0 magnitude quake around 2:40 p.m. And, as I started typing this around 8:16 p.m. PDT, we had another. The second caused two of my dresser drawers to open up. Such is the way of earthquakes.
In the back drop of this seismic awakening comes yet another spiritual one from Mr. Harold Camping. You may recall my first bit about Mr. Camping a few months ago just before his last prediction that the world was doomed and only the chosen will survive. May 21, 2011. Remember? Didn’t happen. Earth still here. In his original prediction, on the appointed date, all the chosen were to ascended to heaven while the rest of us were to experience five long months of seismic torment before the earth finally imploded on October 21. Well, five long months have passed now, and Mr. Camping is still saying that the world will end on October 21. What happened May 21? Well, he got stuff wrong, he says, but he adds that the end will come “very, very quietly.” So, the world is still doomed and it’s still to happen October 21. If you’re reading this, however, chances are he missed the boat again.
The fates have not been kind to Mr. Camping since his last prediction. In early June, he suffered a stroke which kept him in hospital until September. But despite his great age — he has turned 90 — he is recovering, still active, making new podcasts, and he’s still predicting the end of days. How sad. Perhaps the quakes, which he would have felt at his home in Alameda, gave him encouragement that this time he’s nearer the mark. Well, we did have two quakes at or near 4.0 magnitude in one day, rather uncommon, but not unheard of. Maybe the Bay Area is facing ruination, with many fatalities. Is that something you would wish for, though? I still find it very sad that someone should live to 90 years and yet spend all his time worrying about death. And in any case, we’re just talking about the Bay Area. If we get the Big One tomorrow, the rest of the earth will be just fine. Japan’s horrible quake earlier this year was bigger than anything the shaky Hayward Fault can dish up. Though the quake caused the earth to slowdown a bit and change its axis a hair, it hardly destroyed the planet. Life goes on.
So here’s how I’ll be spending this second doomsday weekend of the year. In addition to activities in my last post (eating, listening to and playing music, time with loved ones), I’ll be putting together an earthquake preparedness kit for home and car. We had stuff here in the house, but I’m sure it’s expired by now. The only sign we should get from earthquakes and other natural disasters is that we live on an active planet that is subject to dish out terrific forces well beyond our control at any time. Our best plan is to be prepared.
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